April 7, 2013 – April 13, 2013

Deborah Madison's Spring Garden Hodgepodge of Radishes, Leeks, and Peas Depending ...

You gotta love a cookbook author bold enough to use the words "hodgepodge" and "depending" in the same recipe title. Yet as Deborah Madison explains in her new book, Vegetable Literacy, "Depending is the operative word when there is a garden or good farmers' market." Indeed, when shopping seasonally, you'll never really know what'll look good until you see it. So, go ahead, embrace the hodgepodge of spring vegetables, and adapt Madison's gentle cooking technique and emphatic use of excellent butter to suit your spring haul. More

DIY Orange Soda

DIY orange soda delivers the same satisfying combination of sweet and tart you get from the commercial version, but mixed in with the familiar sharpness and prickly joy of orange soda is a new and exciting flavor I wasn't used to tasting in my soda—real oranges. More

Deborah Madison's Summer Squash Tartines with Rosemary and Lemon

It may not be zucchini season quite yet, but I'd advise squirreling away Deborah Madison's Summer Squash Tartines recipe from her new book, Vegetable Literacy, for dinner parties in the coming months. Another winning bread-cheese-vegetable combination, these open-faced sandwiches are just the thing when you've got a couple of cucurbits hanging around the house. Sure, anyone can throw cheese on bread and call it an appetizer. Yet Madison's little touches, like rubbing the bread with garlic and gently cooking the squash with a saute-steam method, make these tartines more than a slapdash effort at a snack. More

Boiled Coke with Ginger and Lemon

Boiled Coke with ginger and lemon started off as a popular cold remedy in Hong Kong, but now it's a popular anytime drink that's found at pretty much all Hong Kong diners. As a first-time, not sick drinker, I found it surprisingly pleasant. The cold and fizzy are gone, but you're left with sweet, spicy, a little tart, a smidge medicinal—all things that would feel restorative on a cold day or in a stream of warmth going down a sore throat. More

Deborah Madison's Peas with Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs

Shucking fresh peas is not a quick task, I'll admit. But if you can get your hands on some fresh peas in their pods at a farmers' market in the next couple of weeks, grab them and commit to an extra half hour of meal prep. Deborah Madison's unassuming Peas with Baked Ricotta from her new book Vegetable Literacy is worth it. The bright sweetness of the buttery peas matches perfectly with the creamy richness of fresh ricotta, and baking the ricotta with olive oil and fresh bread crumbs transforms cheese and peas into an actual meal. More

Lunettes

Named after the two little peepholes that resemble reading glasses, La Boulange: Cafe Cooking at Home presents these lunettes, with two kinds of jam sandwiched between buttery cookie squares. More

Bread and Butter Pudding

This simple bread pudding is the perfect dessert after a filling meal. Rich and soft, it's often served with a custard sauce, but this version is so creamy and tender that it really doesn't need anything else but a strong cup of tea. If you have the time, letting the raisins sit in a few tablespoons of brandy before you assemble the pudding makes it even more decadent. More

Deborah Madison's Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Plenty of Parsley, and Pasta

Deborah Madison's cauliflower and pasta dish from her new cookbook Vegetable Literacy is a surprise of a recipe. It almost looks like something I'd throw together without thinking, but has a few tweaks that make it stand out from my ordinary dinners. First, she uses what may look like a dangerous amount of red pepper flakes; her scant teaspoon looks menacing compared to my usual pinch or two. Also, she throws in parsley, lots of parsley, in three places--some of it is cooked with garlic to mellow, some of it is wilted into the cooked pasta, and the rest is thrown in at the end for a bright finish. But the real winner here is saffron. The floral taste of saffron always reminds me of bouillabaisse; tasting bites of Madison's cauliflower dish takes my mind to the French stew but for much less time and effort. More

Homemade Wonton Soup

A classic wonton soup made with Chinese superior stock flavored with chicken, pork, ham, and shrimp. The wontons are stuffed with a mixture of pork and shrimp. The shrimp are brined in a solution of salt and baking soda to make them extra crisp. More

Macarons de San Francisco

Decidedly different from those fussy, multicolored cake-cookies that seem to have taken over bakeries, these Macarons from La Boulange: Cafe Cooking at Home are nutty, sweet, and light, owing to a mix of hazelnut and almond meal, egg whites, and sugar. And that's it. More